National Trust plans major £3.6m building project at Fountains Abbey
Last updated Dec 12, 2022
Studley Revealed

The National Trust today revealed designs for a new £3.6 million building and landscape project at the Studley Royal end of Fountains Abbey, near Ripon.

The project, called Studley Revealed, aims to create a more accessible café, admission point and toilets and restore historical sightlines to the 18th century Georgian water garden created by John Aislabie.

However, the new building would be situated inside the water garden and only be accessible to people who pay to enter.

The current tea room on the deer park side, which is free to enter, will close. A kiosk providing drinks and snacks will be built in the deer park car park, accessible to everyone.

The restaurant and parking at the main visitor centre will remain free for all to access.

Studley Revealed

How the new entrance and outside seating to the building from the canal bridge might look.

The trust says the plans, which went out to consultation in 2019 before being paused due to covid, will make Studley Royal less “muddled”.

It will submit a formal planning application to Harrogate Borough Council in the new year.

The organisation said in a statement today:

“This area is currently muddled with 20th century buildings and additions which make up an admission point, toilets, and the boundary of the pay-for entry area.

“For years this has created a large number of conservation and operational issues which are not appropriate in a World Heritage Site.

“The updated improvements will consolidate these facilities into one building and improve the way visitors move through this area.”

The trust added the landscape plans would “open up lost views and create walks that echo the original 18th century design”.

Studley Revealed

How the view of the building from the deer park might look.

New facilities including historical information, accessible toilets and a ‘space to change’ have also been included.

The trust has consulted Historic England, Harrogate Borough Council, World Heritage Site partners and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on its plans.

It has appointed London heritage architects Feilden Fowles and Edinburgh landscape architects Rankinfraser to carry out the work.

Studley Revealed

How the new cafe seating area might look.

Justin Scully, general manager of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, said:

“The Studley Revealed project is an exciting part of the ongoing conservation of the Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal World Heritage Site.

“It has long been our ambition to improve the appearance of this area of the site and how visitors experience it.

“Crucially, it means we can create a place for our visitors to learn more about the fascinating history of Studley Royal.”

The designs and information about the project will be displayed at the Studley entrance from tomorrow until December 22 (excluding December 16) and can also be viewed here.

The trust aims to open the new facilities to visitors in late 2024. 

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